News / USA

    Farm Bill Key Issue on Presidential Campaign Trail in Iowa

    DAVENPORT, Iowa — Agriculture legislation known as the “Farm Bill”, scheduled to expire at the end of September, is one of the top issues on the presidential campaign trail in the Midwest state of Iowa.  Continued drought conditions, and lack of action by legislators on renewing Farm Bill legislation, could influence voters when they head to the polls in November.
     
    A lack of rain and scorching temperatures are taking a toll on eastern Iowa farmer Robb Ewoldt.
     
    On his farm outside Davenport, a creek bed usually flowing with water is almost completely dried up.  His grazing pastures are so bare he has to bring in hay and water daily to keep his cows fed.
     
    To make matters worse, some of his corn crop has wilted, and Ewoldt is worried that low supply and high prices will impact other parts of his farming operation. “The hog operations are going to be really hurting because they need to feed corn.  The poultry is really going to be in a squeeze because that’s all a chicken will eat is corn.  And a dairy guy has to feed corn to get his cows to produce a lot of corn," he said. 
     
    While campaigning in Iowa, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. government would buy up to $170 million worth of pork, chicken, and lamb to help those producers affected by the drought.  Ewoldt views the announcement as a political maneuver.
     
    “In the short run it’s going to help us, but to sustain us through what were going to see over the next eight to ten months in these crop prices and our input costs for livestock, it’s not going to do much at all," he said. 
     
    Ewoldt says what would help are certain benefits provided by the Farm Bill, such as crop insurance.  He wants the legislation renewed before it expires to help provide a sense of security amid the drought. “We’re tired of the gridlock.  We’re tired of hearing that the Congress, the House and Senate are all locked up, and there’s so much - everybody’s so divided," he said. 
     
    “In this part of the country especially, they feel very disconnected from Washington," said Augustana College Political Science Professor Christopher Whitt. He said in Iowa, the drought could determine the November election. “The ways in which the people from the two parties either respond or didn’t respond to the drought, would be a game changer.”
     
    Oklahoma Republican Congressman Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, hopes lawmakers visiting their districts during the recess will see the impact of the drought, and act to pass the Farm Bill.  “I’m counting on farmers and ranchers across the country who are impacted by the drought to remind their members of Congress, that’s what constituents do a wonderful job of, to work with committee to get the job done," he said. 
     
    “Hopefully we can get by this bickering and let’s get it done, and let’s do what’s best for the country not what’s best for the parties," said Ewoldt. 
     
    In the meantime, what would be best for Ewoldt is more rain, to get the water running through his creek again, and to help the grass grow in his pastures so his cows can eat on their own, without his help.

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora